Norvell was optimistic about victory before FSU’s win over Wake Forest

Coach Mike Norvell had the right feeling hours before the Seminoles’ dominant win over Wake Forest.
Photo courtesy FSU athletics

Special to the Outlook

Coach Mike Norvell didn’t know what the final score would be but not for one minute did he second-guess that the outcome would favor the Florida State football team.

You could say that the writing was on the wall, based on what Norvell said he had seen in the team’s preparation. Just hours before the mid-day kickoff, Norvell said to himself “these guys are ready to go.”

Then, following the lopsided win Saturday in Winston Salem, N.C., he went on to tell reporters in a post-game interview why he felt optimistic.

“The main point for this week was we want to be better and we want to start fast,” he said. “When you come on the road, a noon kickoff; we have to control all things with our energy, intensity and the execution on the field. Our guys did that. It started Sunday last week (and) when you saw how they prepared I was very confident how they play.”

Florida State, ranked No. 4, extended its winning streak to 14 games and remained unbeaten in the ACC with the 41-16 victory Wake Forest. The 14 straight is tied for the sixth longest in FSU history. Georgia and Washington are the only programs with longer winning streaks.

FSU’s eight wins without a loss leads the ACC. The Seminoles are right in the thick of the national championship conversation, but Norvell knows they have to finish the job.

“There is still so much for this team,” he said. “Whatever that is we want it all. Go get all that you can by how you work, how you invest (and) how much you care about each other.”

Quarterback Jordan Travis completed 22 of 35 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns before heading to the bench with eight minutes left in the game.

Running back Trey Benson was FSU’s leading rusher with 10 carries for 55 yards and had four receptions for 100 scoring touchdowns via both the pass and run. 

Keon Coleman scored two touchdowns and had seven catches for 66 yards. 

FSU’s defense controlled Wake Forest all day, limiting starting quarterback Mitch Griffis to 6 of 16 passing for 82 yards. 

Wake did not have much success on the ground either gaining just 128 yards on 49 attempts.

Florida State scored before the fans had time to settle in taking the opening drive 75 yards on nine plays capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Travis to go up 7-0 with 10:38 left in the first quarter.

With three top receivers out of the game, FSU’s first four plays were passes to Coleman and Travis was 5 of 6 on the opening driver for 63 yards.

An outstanding punt and tremendous effort by Jarrian Jones to keep the ball out of the end zone put the Demon Deacons in poor field position on the 1-yard line.  Wake could not convert on the first down and set FSU up for its next score with good field position late in the first quarter. 

Ryan Fitzgerald made Wake Forest pay when he drilled a 46-yard field goal with 1:11 left in the first to put the Noles up 10-0.

A 51-yard run on the last play of the first quarter put the Deacons in position to score on the ensuing drive.  Justin Ellison took the handoff on Wake’s staple the slow mesh rushing play and raced to FSU’s 19.  Four plays later, the Deacons scored on a jet sweep around the left side to make it 10-7 FSU with 12:06 left in the half.

Deuce Spann energized the Seminoles and sparked FSU’s next score with a 43-yard kickoff return to set the offense up in great field position. Travis immediately connected with running back Rodney Hill on a perfectly executed inside screen pass that the freshman took 23 yards. Following a Benson run, Travis hit Coleman on the left side for a 29-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 10:41 left in the second quarter.

The Noles went up 24-7 with 4:16 left in the half with another perfectly executed screen pass. Benson took the pass on the left side and used outstanding blocking to race 80 yards for the score.

Travis’ second touchdown pass to Coleman came with 1:16 left in the second quarter to put the Seminoles up 31-7 and Fitzgerald’s second field goal, this from 34 yards out, gave FSU a 34-7 lead.

Florida State amassed 351 yards in the first half and the Nole defense allowed Wake just 75 with 51 coming on one play.  FSU’s defense forced the Wake Forest offense into six three-and-outs and had four quarterback sacks and eight tackles for loss.

Travis was 14-of-23 passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns, and connected with eight different receivers over the first 30 minutes.

Demon Deacons quarterback Mitch Griffis was just 1 of 8 through the air for 19 yards.

Wake took the opening kickoff of the second half 69 yards on 11 plays and cut into the lead with a penalty-aided drive that culminated in a 24-yard field goal to make it 34-10.  The points were the first FSU’s defense has given up in the month of October.

The Demon Deacons made it 34-16 at the end of three quarters with a 2-yard touchdown run that finished a 10-play, 80-yard drive with 52 seconds left. FSU stopped Wake’s two-point conversion attempt with a quarterback sack.

Benson capped the scoring putting the Noles ahead 40-16 on an 18-yard touchdown run up the middle behind great blocking with 11:09 left in the game. 

Florida State improved to 152-29 all-time when ranked in the top 5 and are now 23-6 all-time when ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, including 6-4 on the road and 5-0 this year.


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